According to the analysis of data collected by the Studies Office of Acimall, the Confindustria-member association representing the Italian wood-furniture technology industry, findings that confirmed an immediate impact of the lockdown caused by the Covid19 pandemic is unsurprising. The first quarter 2020 closed with a widespread reduction of woodworking machinery and tool orders, a two-digit decrease that involved all global markets, though with some delay.
The quarterly survey – which involves a representative sample of the entire industry – has revealed a strong reduction of orders, by 21.1 percent compared to the same period of 2019. The slight delays mentioned above have probably mitigated the impact for international customers, down by 19.4 percent, which is not so bad as the minus 25.3 result recorded by domestic demand.
“It is clear that the widespread shrinkage and later lockdown of production activities has impacted the results, causing a demand crisis that will probably influence the entire year. The actions of national, European and global governments and institutions to support the economy and each industry will be critical in the near future,” said Dario Corbetta, general director of Acimall.
The book of orders is at 2.6 months, while prices have been increasing by 0.8 percent. In a situation that is not just “difficult”, the revenues in Q1 obviously show a very different trend from orders, down by “only” 8.8 percent. Basically, industry companies could finalise and deliver all pending orders, but the worries for the future have led too many customers to postpone all investment decisions, waiting for a safer outlook.
Quality Survey: A “stationary” trend to be expected
The quality survey reveals all the fears of industry entrepreneurs: 69 percent expect dropping production, 19 percent predict some stability and only 12 percent believe in a positive trend. A “stationary” trend is also expected for employment according to 75 percent of the sample, while 6 percent expect an increase and 19 percent fear shrinkage. Available stocks are stationary according to 44 percent, increasing according to 37 percent and falling according to the remaining 19 percent.
Forecast survey: Some still hope to see increase in foreign orders
Last but not least, the figure that is traditionally presented by the quarterly survey of the Acimall Studies office, namely the sentiment for the near future. The forecast survey shows a situation dominated by worries, both for the trend of domestic demand and for the poor chances to find compensation abroad: 13 percent of the interviewees expect an increase in foreign orders, but 31 percent believe there will be no change and 56 percent fear that the worst is yet to come (negative balance 43). No business owner is optimistic about incoming orders from the Italian wood and furniture industry: 37 percent hope for some stability while 63 percent believe the downward trend will continue (negative balance 63).